2018-2019 Catalog

ENGL 390 Junior Seminar in English

The Junior Seminar is a small, discussion-oriented seminar required of all English majors, emphasizing advanced critical approaches to a literary topic. Enrollment is restricted to English majors who will pass the college's Second-Stage Writing Requirement by satisfactory completion of the course writing requirements. 

Laughter and Non-Representation

While Aristotle is reputed to have written a treatise on comedy to match his famous discourse on tragedy, The Poetics, this is hard to believe as, in all his works, he shows almost no sense of humor. This first absence does not seem to have been filled in the many centuries that have followed. Both in number and quality, modern treatments of laughter seem inadequate. This weakness is perhaps because the funny is constitutively unavailable to rational representation. This class will explore laughter as exactly the embodied symptom that arises out of the intrinsic inadequacies of representation. After a quick critique of traditional theories of mimesis, we will explore the generation of laughter through various contemporary theories and attempt to understand its function for the liberation of the unrepresented in works thought funny, from Laurence Sterne to Ishmael Reed. Open only to junior English majors.


4 units